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Jonathan Huberdeau feels he has greatly improved defensively
Credit: Getty Images

When you think of a disappointing contract, you think of Jonathan Huberdeau. Sad to say, the Quebecer simply isn’t living up to expectations.

His offensive production has regressed again this season. In 2021-22, he impressed everyone in Florida with a whopping 115 points. Then, the Panthers traded him to the Flames, who decided to offer him an eight-year contract worth $10.5 million each season.

Since joining Calgary, he has had a 55-point season in 2022-23, followed by a 52-point season in 2023-24. It’s not getting any better for Huberdeau.

But he’s not throwing in the towel. Speaking on TVA Sports’ JiC program on Thursday, he explained that he’s happy with the improvement in his defensive game.

Defense is all well and good, but he’s going to have to do a much better job offensively. He’s understandably proud of his offensive output at the end of the season: he managed to score eight points during an eight-game stretch between February and March.

Except that a player who costs $10.5 million should provide a lot more. Under these circumstances, points per game shouldn’t be a nice sequence, but rather a standard.

It’s also important to understand that the Flames’ style of play is perhaps more defensive than that of the Panthers. Nor can Huberdeau rely on an elite center like Aleksander Barkov. He also had to play two seasons under two different coaches. Talk about constant adaptation.

Even though he’s satisfied with his defensive game, Huberdeau is aware that he needs to give more offensively. He plans to work on this this summer by working harder in the gym.

The thing that could help him the most is to improve his speed. He’ll try to improve it by going to the gym this summer, and a few off-ice workouts wouldn’t hurt.

Note that there are still seven seasons left on his contract, which weighs $10.5 million on the Flames’ payroll.

Meanwhile, his former team, the Florida Panthers, are ecstatic with Matthew Tkachuk, who has not only already enjoyed two seasons of 109 and 88 points since his arrival, but has also been a big part of their road to the Stanley Cup Final in 2023.

In fact, the Panthers are still in the playoffs in their conference semi-final against the Bruins.

In gusto

– Baie-Comeau ate a sincere one.

– Marco Rossi would be of interest to many NHL teams.

– A new edition of the Passion MLB podcast.

– Some great stats.

– Coming up.

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